Category Archives: Money

Shock: EPA Administrator Pushes Job-Crushing Climate Regs But Is Incapable Of Supporting President’s Warming Claims

Jeff Sessions

In a hearing yesterday on climate regulation, Senator Sessions pressed EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to support the President’s statements on warming which are used to justify massive proposed administrative actions which would hurt millions of workers. McCarthy proved unable and unwilling to support the President’s claims despite being the central figure crafting and implementing EPA regulations.

Sessions: “Do I not have the right to ask the Director of EPA a simple question that is relevant to the dispute that is before us? Is the temperature around the globe increasing faster than was predicted, even 10 years ago [as the President claimed]?” 

McCarthy: “I can’t answer that question.” 

Sessions: “You are asking us to impose billions of dollars of cost on this economy and you won’t answer the simple question of whether [temperature around the globe is increasing faster than predicted] is an accurate statement or not?”

Latest Jobs Report ‘Very Bad’

obamaHead

Directly contradicting President Obama’s claim yesterday that the recovery is “very real”, the latest jobs numbers show an employment situation that even White House friendly MSNBC had to call “ugly” and “very bad.”

From a political perspective, there is a silver lining – the unemployment rate, which most news outlets report on, dropped to 6.7% from the previously reported 7%. Unfortunately, it was due almost entirely due to Americans giving up on finding a job and leaving the workforce.

91.8 million Americans are not in the workforce as of this month’s report – a new record. The labor participation rate, a measure of the percentage of the working age population that is working, dropped to 62.8%, a level not seen since Jimmy Carter was president.

5 times as many people left the workforce than the number of jobs the economy created.

As the current administration sees these numbers as a recovery, it should not be long at all before they take a victory lap – right about the time we have about 50% of all working age Americans employed and a 3% unemployment rate because everyone else has given up on even trying to find a job.

American Capitalism & The Illusion of Laissez Faire

To draw from an opening phrase, in the beginning, there was capitalism. More accurately, at the beginning of our Constitutional Republic, government was committed to limiting – drastically – it’s footprint in the new American marketplace. Americans were free from the tyranny of government interference leveled at the former colonists at the hand of King George III. Our Founders and Framers sought to secure the right of the individual not only to property, but to commerce in a form lightly touched by government. My, how far we have fallen from the Framer’s original intent.

The original intent of the Framers where commerce was concerned – and especially under the Articles of Confederation – was to leave the new American people to reap the benefits of their crafts and labors. The Framers embraced a laissez faire system of capitalism. Laissez faire capitalism is defined as:

“…a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights.”

A system of government’s only responsibility in a laissez faire capitalist system, where commerce was concerned and if adhering to the original intent of the Framers, was:

“…to protect the rights of the individual, by banning the initiation of force, thus making all relations between men peaceful, i.e., free from the threat of violence and fraud…

“…a system of checks and balances so ordered to protect the rights of the individual, from criminals and most importantly from the democratically elected voices who claim to speak for the ‘public good.’”

Today’s American “free market system” is actually anything but a laissez faire capitalist system; a free system.

Starting a small business today requires that the aspiring entrepreneur incur significant start-up costs including fees, costly regulatory acquiescence, licensure requirements, taxes, tariffs, diversity quota hiring and other associated costs, taxes, actions and/or fees. Add to that the impossible task of acquiring necessary to-market development capital from a financial institution – many of which were afforded lifesaving financial infusions of taxpayer dollars, courtesy of crony capitalists in Washington, DC – and you have a formula for a stagnant economy and high unemployment for the “producers,” and the selective enrichment of the connected, the elite and the “chosen few.”

This was not the case so long ago. And as little as 30 years ago, starting a small business meant reaping the rewards of ingenuity and hard work. Someone with a dream; someone with a “good idea,” was able to acquire capital to launch small business initiatives based on that tangible idea; based on a well-crafted business plan and model. Sadly, today, no one “invests in ideas” anymore. Financial institutions and capable venture capitalists balk at the “good idea”; recoil from the uncertainty of start-up entrepreneurship because of the non-guarantee of return on investment, even as many of them have been deemed “too big to fail” when they make bad business decisions of their own, only to receive government-funded (read: taxpayer-funded) bailouts. This all happening while the “good idea” start-up concepts wither on the vine for lack of start-up capital.

Additionally, many a creative entrepreneur is neutered – or hamstrung – by the fact that the “powers that be” have declared they did not jump through the traditional “educational hoops”; did not attain the necessary piece of paper and the required student loan debt to be considered “competent” or “intelligent” enough to conceive of the “next big thing.” Of course, this certainly must come as a surprise to Bill Gates, or to the late Steve Jobs, two pioneers of the computer age who dropped out of college. So, too, must is be shocking news to the many “gangsta” rap moguls who possess a depth of language proficiency usually reserved for those with a single or low double-digit intelligence quotient, and most of whom know the assembly of automatic weaponry better than algebraic theory.

And while the successful navigation of the “educational hoops” does not guarantee entrée into the realm of the financially anointed, sometimes the connections and friendships acquired at many upper-echelon secondary education establishments can serve to circumvent the ties that bind “producer Americans” to the grind of the average. Yes, I am talking about elitist crony capitalism.

Case in point: Toni Townes-Whitley.

According to TheDailyCaller.com:

“Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million [failed] Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the US arm of a Canadian company.

“Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.”

Coincidentally, George Schindler, the president of CGI Federal’s Canadian parent CGI Group, became an Obama 2012 campaign donor after his company gained the Obamacare website contract. What a coincidence…

What does all of this have to do with laissez faire capitalism? Well, actually, nothing. It has nothing to do with laissez faire capitalism. And that’s the point.

Considering that our economic system has turned into a fiscal bordello of short-cuts for the Progressive chosen few, bailouts for the “too big to fail” financial institutions, and a playground for the crony capitalists, is it any wonder the financial markets have ceased reflecting the health of the American economy? How are investors supposed to know when the next major economic disaster is approaching when risky investments and questionable financial schemes are always rewarded in their failures and losses with government-backed (read: taxpayer-funded) bailouts? For the “chosen ones,” where is the “risk”?

The original intent of the Founders and Framers was to have an “American capitalism”; a system of commerce and investment based on achievement, investment, hard work, production and, yes, failure. The American system of capitalism was designed to leave the evolution of society and the decisions about the “common good” to the people. Today’s “anything but free market system” is a disingenuous scheme establishing pre-determined winners and losers; a manipulation of the laissez faire capitalist purity that promotes equality in outcome over an equality of opportunity: economic and social justice.

In an economic system enslaved by the Progressive ideology, economic and social justice is of a paramount importance, trumping the small business, the innovator, the entrepreneur and the producer; trumping and extinguishing opportunity for all, opportunity guaranteed in the United States Constitution.

An economic system enslaved by the Progressive ideology dictates who will win and who will lose; who will acquire wealth and who will live just above poverty, all according to an oligarchical elites’ idea of what is fair, what is not and who is worthy.

Under a Progressive economic system, opportunity is dead and the American Dream, but for those chosen by the Progressive masters, swings from a rope off a branch of a socially engineered (read: Socialist) tree, long-standing on the Progressive plantation.

“Not houses finely roofed or the stones of walls well builded, nay nor canals and dockyards make the city, but men able to use their opportunity.” – Alcaeus

Rebuttal of William Hartung’s blatant lies about the threat environment

Display of might

The leftist “BreakingDefense” website has recently (on Dec. 12th) published yet another utterly ridiculous leftist screed, this time by ignorant anti-defense hack William Hartung from the far-left “New America Foundation”, an organization that seeks to turn America into a socialist, militarily weak country. In that garbage screed, Hartung falsely claims that:

1) The world is much safer now than during the Cold War and there is no significant threat to America’s or her allies’ security;

2) US military superiority is uncontested and there’s no one able to contest it;

3) The US spends too much on defense and should cut it by $100 bn per year, below Cold War average levels;

4) The only threats to US security on the horizon are the politically-correct threats of man-made climate change, disease, hunger, and nuclear-armed terrorists, and potential “miscalculations” in the current territorial disputes in East Asia. Hartung falsely claims none of America’s current or future security challenges can be solved through the “traditional means of military power”;

5) The Ryan-Murray budget deal would give an additional $20 bn to the DOD every year and would effectively increase defense spending.

All of Hartung’s claims are patently false. All of them.

1) Despite his pious denials, the world is far, far more dangerous than at any point during the Cold War except the Cuban Missile Crisis over 50 years ago. It is, in fact, more dangerous than at any point since WW2, again excluding only the CMC. During the CW, the US had to deter only one hostile superpower. Today, it has to deter and keep in check TWO hostile superpowers with large nuclear arsenals – Russia and China – as well as a nuclear-armed and belligerent North Korea, soon to be joined by a nuclear-armed Iran. It also has to fight terrorist organizations, such as AQ and Hezbollah, around the world. To cut US defense spending even further (after all the previous, pre-sequestration rounds of defense cuts implemented by the Obama admin) would be suicidal. No, the US is not spending too much on defense; if anything, it is spending too little. The world is decidedly NOT safer now than during the Cold War; for all of the above reasons, it is far MORE dangerous.

2) US military superiority is mostly a thing of the past already. Russia and China both wield large, modern, and growing nuclear arsenals as well as large, modern conventional militaries. In most categories of weapons, they’ve already matched or bested the US and are now working on closing the remaining few gaps. Their Flanker fighters are superior to everything the US flies except the F-22 and upgraded F-15C/Ds. Their PAKFA, J-20, and J-31 stealth fighters will best everything on the planet except the F-22 (whose capability they will nonetheless approach). Their Sovremenny and Type 052 DDGs are better than the USN’s DDGs, their submarines are quieter than the USN’s (who also sucks at ASW), and the PLAN already has far more attack subs than the USN does. In a few years, the PLAN will have more submarines, and more ships, in total than the USN. They both also have IRBMs, a class of weapons the US does not have, and China also has a huge arsenal of GLCMs. It is now also developing a stealthy, intercontinental bomber capable of reaching the CONUS.

But most troublingly, these countries (and on a lesser scale, rogue states like the DPRK and Iran) have fielded large, multi-layered networks of anti-access/area-denial weapons and capabilities that can shutter the US military out of entire war theaters completely, by destroying US land bases, USN surface ships, US satellites, and crippling US cyber networks as well as denying access to their airspace to all but the most stealthy a/c (F-22s and B-2s, plus the future LRSB/NGB). Their air defense systems can shoot any nonstealthy aircraft from hundreds of kilometers away. This means the US will have to acquire a wholly new series of long-range strike platforms that can access even the most heavily-defended countries, hit their assets, and operate at great distances, as well as disperse, harden, and fortify its current land bases and upgrade its air and missile defenses. This cannot be done on the cheap – it will require significant and sustained investments.

So Hartung’s claim that there’s no threat to US military supremacy is also a blatant lie – like the rest of his screed.

3) How much money the US has spent on defense in decades past is completely irrelevant to how much money should it be spending on defense right now. The only way to determine the right amount is to ask: “What exact capabilities (and thus weapons) do we need, at what level of sophistication, and at what quantity, and how much will it cost to recruit, house, feed, equip, train, maintain, care for, and compensate such a military?” Only this way can the right amount of defense spending be determined.

Raw figures and exclamations, like “oh my gosh, we’re spending $480 bn to $500 bn per year on defense, can’t we provide for our security with that amount?” and “oh my gosh, we’re spending more than during the Cold War on defense!” are utterly irrelevant and childish. Not to mention that the dollar is worth far, far less today than during the Cold War, and that as a share of the federal budget and of GDP, the US now spends LESS on defense than at any point since FY1940.

Hartung, whose goal is to totally gut America’s defense, OTOH, wants to arbitrarily cut US defense spending deeply so that it will be woefully inadequate.

4) Despite Hartung’s blatant lies that the world’s current security threats cannot be solved by military means, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, the biggest threats to America’s and its allies’ security are: an ascendant and aggressive China, a resurgent and aggressive Russia, a nuclear-armed NK preying on its southern neighbor and the US itself, an Iran speedily developing nuclear weapons and BMs, and terrorist groups of global reach like Hezbollah and AQ. These threats cannot be defeated by ANYTHING other than military means – because the ONLY thing these potential aggressors understand and respect is military strength. It’s the only thing that can deter and if necessary (Hezbollah, AQ) defeat them.

5) Contrary to Hartung’s blatant lies, the Ryan-Murray budget deal would not add a penny to the defense budget. It would only slightly reduce the amount of sequestration-required budget cuts the DOD would have to make in FY2014 and FY2015: by roughly $20 bn this FY and $9 bn the next, out of over $50 bn in cuts mandated by the sequester for every FY going forward thru FY2022. After FY2015, the sequester would return in full force.

Even before sequestration, the DOD had already cut almost a TRILLION dollars out of its budget: in over $330 bn in cuts resulting from the killing of over 50 crucial weapon programs by Sec. Gates, $178 bn in his later “efficiencies”, and $487 bn under the first tranche of BCA-mandated (pre-sequester) budget cuts. Sequestration is only the newest series of defense budget cuts being implemented by the Obama administration, which targeted defense for deep cuts as soon as it took office. Any claim that Ryan and Murray want to add any amount of money to the defense budget is a flat-out lie.

6) The Stimson Center’s proposals are useless, because they would “achieve” $25 bn in “savings” only by deeply cutting the military’s MUSCLE – America’s military CAPABILITIES, not the fat. Specifically, the Army would see even deeper cuts than those proposed by Obama, and the Navy’s planned SSBN replacement fleet would get cut from the barely-adequate planned number of 12 to just 10 boats. This is the defense policy of a madhouse.

7) Hartung shows his true colors when he calls on Congress not to spare the DOD at all from the sequester… but does not object to Congress reducing the scheduled sequester cuts to nondefense (domestic) discretionary programs, the vast majority of which are unconstitutional. This proves, once again, that Hartung’s goal is NOT to save taxpayers money, but to gut America’s defense.

And for that, he should be damnated forever as the traitor he is.

Shame on Hartung for lying so blatantly, but above all, shame on BD and its editors, Colin Clark and Sydney Freedberg, for publishing his litany of blatant lies and thus giving him yet another avenue to lie to the public, as if he didn’t have enough. Shame on you, Messrs. Clark and Freedberg!

Rebuttal of anti-nuke hacks’ lies about US nuclear weapons spending

142074.439nuclear_explosion

The leftist “National Defense Magazine”, which has often published utterly false propaganda screeds on defense issues, has recently published yet another one of this kind: an article that falsely claims US nuclear weapons spending is poised to skyrocket and is exempt from sequester.

Even worse, that garbage screed uncritically repeats the lies of several extremely leftist anti-nuclear activists and organizations, such as the Council for a Livable World’s Kingston Reif, the CATO Institute, and POGO.

The screed repeats Kingston Reif’s blatant lies that nuclear weapons spending is supposedly poised to “soar” at a time when the rest of the military budget is declining fast, that such spending will increasingly crowd out funding for conventional weapons, that it will force the DOD into very difficult between nuclear and conventional arms, that deeply and unilaterally cutting the nuclear arsenal would still leave the US with a “devastating deterrent”, etc.

All of these claims are blatant lies borrowed uncritically from leftist groups and activists. Here are THE FACTS:

1) Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems are NOT, have not been, and will not be in any way spared or shielded from the sequester. There is NO provision in the Budget Control Act (BCA), which created the sequester, or in any other law, that would shield/ring-fence the nuclear arsenal from budget cuts. In fact, by the National Defense Magazine’s own admission, the sequester has recently cut the B61 warhead modernization program’s budget by $30 mn.

And in 2012, then-SECDEF Panetta said that if sequestration persists, the DOD would have to eliminate the entire ICBM fleet, cut the bomber fleet by 2/3s, kill the NGB program, cut the SSBN fleet, and delay the SSBN replacement program.

So any claim that nuclear weapons spending is protected from the sequester, or is set to skyrocket, is a BLATANT LIE, meaning that the people making such claims are LIARS.

And no one should be fooled by Kingston Reif’s false concern for conventional weapon programs. His organization advocates, and has long advocated, deep cuts in America’s conventional and nuclear weapon programs like – in ALL categories of American military power. They simply want to gut America’s defense.

At present, the entire nuclear arsenal and its associated infrastructure cost only $31-32 bn per year, that is, a paltry 5% of the entire military budget. Therefore, Kingston Reif’s claim that nuclear weapons will force the DOD to choose between them and conventional weapons is a blatant lie. At just 5% of the military budget, US nuclear weapons spending is too low to have that effect.

Even cutting US nuclear weapons spending deeply, or even eliminating it entirely, would not come anywhere close to freeing up enough funding for (increasingly expensive) conventional weapon systems.

OTOH, terminating the useless F-35 program (whose cost is nearly $400 bn) and reforming the DOD’s grotesquely costly pay, personnel, and benefits schemes and its byzantine acqusitions system would yield huge savings that would allow significant investments in both nuclear and conventional programs.

Absent such reforms, however, there will not be enough money for any weapons – nuclear or conventional – because personnel costs will eat up an ever-larger share – and eventually the whole – of the US military budget! By FY2039, on present trends, there won’t be a single dollar for ANY weapon – nuclear or conventional – because 100% of the DOD budget will be spent on personnel and their benefits!

2) Kingston Reif is not an expert on anything, let alone nuclear weapons. He’s a far-left anti-nuclear activist. He has zero knowledge of nuclear weapons or US defense budgets. Calling him an “expert”, as the NDM has done, is ridiculous and an insult to every real expert on the subject.

3) Kingston Reif’s “estimate” of the costs of nuclear modernization ($300 bn/25 years) is a wild exaggeration designed to mislead the public and thus to get the public to abandon the program. It isn’t based on any sound sources. But even if his wildly exaggerated “estimate” were true – and it isn’t even CLOSE to being true – that would amount to only slightly more than $10 bn per year ($300 bn over a period of 25 years – a quarter of a century). That’s very much affordable.

That Reif and other anti-nuclear activists make such grossly exaggerated claims is not surprising – they want America to disarm itself unilaterally (and thus to open itself to attack by powers which these anti-nuke activists serve) by simply allowing its nuclear arsenal to decay and rust away without modernization.

4) Reif’s claim that the US could still have a “devastating” nuclear deterrent after cutting the planned new SSBN fleet from twelve to just eight boats and delaying the next-gen bomber program until the mid-2020s is likewise a blatant lie. Such actions would GUT the nuclear deterrent while saving only a pittance – according to the CBO’s grossly exaggerated estimate, $48 bn over two decades – and possibly inviting a Russian nuclear first strike on the US, since, after such deep cuts, the US would have only 4-5 boats and 450 ICBMs of any credible retaliatory power. (The rest of the boats would be in overhaul, and the USAF would lack bombers that could penetrate Russian airspace in retaliation.)

With just eight SSBNs, only four to five at most would be at sea at any given time (the rest would be in refit/overhaul). That’s a paltry number, and nowhere near enough to provide a sufficient nuclear retaliatory capability, even if all 4-5 SSBNs that would be at sea at any moment survived an enemy first strike… which would be highly unlikely, given that America’s enemies and allies alike have, in recent decades, REPEATEDLY detected, snuck upon, and scored goals against American (Ohio class) SSBNs.

Moreover, even if 4-5 SSBNs still survived, they would still be woefully inadequate to deliver a sufficiently devastating second strike, because they wouldn’t have enough missiles and warheads on these paltry 4-5 boats. A single future SSBN will have only 16 missiles, so 5*16=80 missiles, armed with, at best, 10 warheads each. That’s just 800 warheads compared to the over 1,400 (and growing) that Russia’s 13-strong SSBN fleet can deliver.

Nuclear deterrence is a numbers game. More nuclear weapons mean a stronger, more credible, more survivable nuclear deterrent.

The Navy did not take the planned number of new SSBNs (12) out of thin air; it arrived at that number after a careful, thorough analysis of how many subs are needed to provide deterrence after New START entered into force. The exact opposite of the “eight SSBNs” number proposed by the CBO and by pro-unilateral-disarmament groups like CLW, POGO, and others – which was taken out of thin air.

And make no mistake: these treasonous pro-unilateral-disarmament groups treat that as a mere step on the way to disarming America completely and unilaterally.

As for the next-gen bomber, it is urgently needed NOW and cannot be delayed any further. It is absolutely needed for both nuclear and conventional missions on which it would have to penetrate highly-defended airspace – Russian, Chinese, North Korean, Iranian, and Syrian airspace defended (or soon to be defended, in Iran’s and Syria’s case) by sophisticated, modern (excl. NK), highly capable long-range air defense systems like the S-300, S-400, S-500, HQ-9, and HQ-16 (not to mention any systems Moscow or Beijing may field in the next decade or two, like the S-500 currently in development).

Currently, America has only a handful of bombers able to penetrate such airspace – a paltry 20 B-2 bombers. That’s woefully inadequate. Moreover, even B-2 bombers may, in the early 2020s, lose ability to penetrate defended airspace (CSBA’s Mark Gunzinger, a REAL expert on bomber and nuke issues, says they will). This means the next-gen bomber is needed NOW and cannot be delayed any further. In fact, it was already delayed for way, way too long before the program was launched in 2011. Without it, the USAF will completely lose its ability to penetrate defended airspace by the 2020s.

The urgent need for this bomber, and for development to be conducted NOW, has been reaffirmed by the 2006 and 2010 QDR, by every SECDEF since at least Bob Gates, by every SECAF and USAF Chief of Staff since the Gates years (Wynne, Donley, Fanning, Gens. Moseley, Schwartz, and Welsh), by the USAF as a whole, and by numerous independent (outside the DOD) think-tanks from the Mitchell Institute to Heritage to the Lexington Institute to the CSBA, CNAS, and AEI, and to the Joint Force Quarterly publication. And just recently, both Gen. Welsh and (outgoing) Deputy SECDEF Ash Carter have STRONGLY reaffirmed the need for a next-gen bomber.

For more on why the NGB is needed, see here, here and here.

The need for the next-gen bomber is INDISPUTABLE. It’s an undebatable FACT.

The CBO’s “recommendations” should be ignored. The CBO only employs bean-counters who know nothing about defense issues.

5) POGO’s and others’ claim that the B61 nuclear bomb modernization’s cost is “out of control” and “unaffordable” is also a blatant lie. At $10 bn in total, over a span of 11 years, it works out to just $900 mn per year, a perfectly affordable cost – a fraction of one percent of the military budget (let alone the entire federal budget or GDP). Don’t tell me America can’t afford to spend one sixth of one percent of its military budget modernizing its most important nuclear warhead.

You know what’s really unaffordable? The federal government’s social spending, which now comprises over 60% of the federal budget. It – not defense spending – is driving America ever deeper into debt. That is to say nothing of the coming tsunami of Social Security and Medicare spending as the Baby Boomers retire.

6) POGO’s and others’ claim that the B61 bomb is not needed in Europe is likewise patently false. The B61 is VERY MUCH NEEDED in Europe to deter Russia, which has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal (4,000 tactical warheads and the means to deliver all of them by a wide range of systems), and just in the last 6 years has threatened to aim, or even use, its nuclear weapons against America or its allies at least FIFTEEN separate times. It has also repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into or near European countries’ airspace and simulated nuclear strikes on them – even on neutral Sweden!

Putin’s Russia is an increasingly aggressive potential adversary and can only be deterred with strength, not unilateral disarmament like POGO advocates.

Moreover, as recently as the last NATO summit, NATO REAFFIRMED the need for US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, and America’s European (and Asian) allies have REPEATEDLY, in recent years, stressed the importance of America’s extended nuke deterrent which the B61 bomb constitutes.

The need for B61 modernization has recently been reaffirmed by top DOD, DOE, and NNSA officials, including STRATCOM commander Gen. Bob Kehler.

 

7) POGO is not a watchdog group. It is a treasonous, anti-American, pro-unilateral disarmament organization partially financed by George Soros.

8) Dianne Feinstein’s and others’ claim that the US has more nuclear weapons than it needs is also a blatant lie. The US barely has enough deployed weapons to deter Russia and China. Russia’s ICBM fleet (430 missiles in all) can deliver at least 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; Russia’s bomber fleet, over 2,000, and Russia’s SSBN fleet, over 1,400. Russia’s tactical submarines armed with cruise missiles can deliver further warheads. China, for its part, has between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear weapons. A small nuclear arsenal, like Sen. Feinstein demands, could be easily destroyed by Russia or even China in a first strike. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal further will only invite such a strike eventually, and it will also leave America’s allies (esp. Japan, SK, and the Gulf states) with no choice but to build their own nuclear weapons. 66% of South Koreans already want to do so. South Korea and Japan are ready to do so within months if need be.

Thus, the end result of cutting the US nuclear arsenal would be a world with MORE nuclear weapons (outside the US) and more nuclear-armed states. In other words, nuclear proliferation would get much worse.

The US nuclear arsenal is BY FAR the most valuable counter-proliferation tool the US has at its disposal.

9) CATO’s claim that eliminating the ICBM and bomber legs of the nuclear triad would save $20 bn per year is a blatant lie as well. In fact, doing so would “save” only $2.6 bn per year. That’s how little it costs to maintain these two legs of the triad.

CATO’s claim that the triad came to exist only because of interservice rivalry is a blatant lie, too. If it were true, why weren’t the Army and the Marines given any nuclear role?

CATO’s claim that the triad is a Cold War relic is likewise a total falsehood. If it were true, why are the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis retaining, modernizing, and expanding their own nuclear triads?

Answer: because they know that a nuclear triad is BY FAR the most survivable nuclear deterrence arrangement.

In sum, not a single claim that CATO, POGO, or CLW anti-defense hacks like Reif make is true. Not a single one. All their claims on nuclear weapons are blatant lies. Shame on the NDM for publishing yet another litany of blatant lies and for uncritically repeating the blatant lies of anti-nuke activists who only seek to disarm America unilaterally and thus to expose it to great danger.

The Opportunistic Politics Rolls On

Just as the American people begin eying the torches and pitchforks, readying their maps of Washington, DC, the establishment politicos have set themselves to brazenly cover their butts yet again. This time, they are proposing a way to absolve themselves from tough votes on raising the debt ceiling.

In the aftermath of our current President’s disingenuous declaration that raising the debt ceiling “doesn’t necessarily mean adding to the debt,” and his infantile temper-tantrum about the government being held “hostage” because House Republicans wouldn’t let him have the federal credit card for his “date with destiny,” it isn’t surprising that the usual suspects are floating a fiscally irresponsible, but politically advantageous, plan to avoid the ugliness of actually governing where the debt and debt ceiling are concerned.

RedState.com reports:

On Meet the Press, Chuck Schumer, who has enthusiastically praised [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell, (Ri-KY), for doing his bidding, announced that he would introduce legislation echoing the “McConnell rule.”

“Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will propose legislation that would make permanent a plan to take the decision to raise the country’s debt limit out of Congress’s hands.

“By making the so-called “McConnell rule” permanent, the president would have ultimate authority to raise the debt limit and prevent the United States from defaulting.

“Congress would still have power to oppose raising the debt ceiling, but would not have to vote to increase the borrowing limit.

“‘If we were to do that, the chances of going up to the brink again, the chances of this kind of debacle, will decrease,’ Schumer said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday.”

The politics is brazen. The abdication of constitutionally mandated obligation absolute.

It is not negotiable – aside from passing a constitutional amendment – that the US House of Representatives is tasked with the exclusive – exclusive – authority to generate legislation having to do with the raising of revenue. This means that no piece of legislation emanating from the Senate, no executive order, no agreement amongst a “Gang of Idiots,” has the constitutional authority to raise revenue, including the expansion of our nation’s level of debt.

Raising the debt ceiling so that the federal government can continue to operate in the red expands the expenditures of government. This can only be viewed as authorizing the need to extract revenues from the only constitutional source of revenue the federal government has: the American people via taxation.

Perhaps the American people have forgotten this critical point. The United States government does not produce a product. Therefore, the United States government cannot produce a revenue stream outside the realm of taxation, or, at least this was the way it was supposed to be before the federal government got into backing “winners and losers” (read: every Energy Department funding initiative) through government-backed special interest subsidies and the quasi-nationalization of certain private-sector companies (read: GM and Chrysler).

It is for this reason the generation of revenue legislation – and later legislation authorizing the extraction of taxes from the American people – rests solely with the US House; the elected body closest and most vulnerable to the people. It is for this specific reason that US Representatives are elected every two years instead of four or six, and why they represent the least number of people, by comparison, in our federal system of government. The Framers wanted these people – these elected representatives – to be vulnerable to their constituents. This was the “stick” to the carrot of elected privilege.

Creating a mechanism by which our elected representatives can simply remain silent in order to allow the Executive Branch (read: the President) to mandate the raising of revenue – in this case the debt ceiling and along with it the ability to spend – is literally unconstitutional. Additionally, that Senators are even broaching this subject presents as unconstitutional because the US Senate is not vested with the power of the purse, only the US House has that power.

People like Mitch McConnell and Chuckie Schumer get away with floating unconstitutional political mechanisms like “The McConnell Rule” because our citizenry exists as constitutionally illiterate and selfishly apathetic to their role in government: engaged oversight. Until the American people start to consistently and constantly embrace a jealous appreciation for limited government – and through that jealously an elevated addiction to freedom and responsible individualism – political reprobates like McConnell and Schumer will continue to destroy the Constitution and, along with it, our freedoms; your freedom.

Why the government shutdown is the worst idea ever

johnboehner

House Speaker John Boehner flanked by his House colleagues. Photo credit: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite.

Never, ever shut down the federal government again.

– President Bill Clinton, 1996 State of the Union Address

 

As everyone knows, on October 1st at midnight, the federal government shut down for the first time in 17 years. This event has had and will have lasting, serious, negative consequences for the entire country, and even moreso for the two political parties. This article will explain why, looking from a conservative Republican perspective, shutting down the federal government is the worst idea possible for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country that my fellow conservatives claim to care about first and foremost. In short, the shutdown is bad policy AND bad politics.

Why it’s bad politics for the GOP and conservatives

Contrary to what many of my fellow conservatives think, nothing good can come out of this conundrum for conservatives or for the Republican Party (regardless of whatever future you wish for that party). This is a battle we simply cannot win, and no amount of throwing the RINO epithet at everyone who disagrees with you will change that fact.

Some have pointed out to polls supposedly showing Barack Obama’s approval ratings as being at 40% or lower, and disapproval ratings going over 50%. Even if these polls are scientific and accurate – and depending on who commissioned them, they might not be – these people completely ignore the fact that Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party have even lower approval ratings in the eyes of the American people.

According to polls commissioned by Fox News – hardly a liberal outlet – Congressional Republicans had only a 23% approval rating in June and August, with disapproval ratings of 67% and 66%, respectively. That means that fully TWO THIRDS of the American public view Congressional Republicans – especially their conservative wing – negatively.

By contrast, Congressional Democrats’ approval ratings, while still dismal, were better than Republicans': 32% approval and 60% disapproval in both June and August.

Moreover, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has the worst ratings of any major party leader in America today: 22% approval, 42% disapproval in October.  John Boehner has 27% approval and 51% disapproval ratings (in April, he had 31% approval and only 41% disapproval). Even Harry Reid now does better at 27% approval and 43% disapproval) in the same month. Nancy Pelosi is at 35% approval, 47% disapproval (whereas in April, she was at 31% approval and 48% disapproval, so her image has improved since then).

Barack Obama, meanwhile, while having seen his approval ratings slump somewhat, still enjoys much higher popularity than anyone in Congress. His approval ratings, according to various polls, average at 45%, and range from a low end of 40% (Fox News, 54% disapproval) to a high end of 47% approval and the same amount disapproving.

So no matter what poll you take, Barack Obama, while hardly at the peak of his popularity, is STILL seen far more favorably than anyone in Congress, ESPECIALLY Congressional Republicans, ESPECIALLY their conservative wing.

It is inevitable that this government shutdown will take a heavy toll on the Tea Party’s, the conservative movement’s, and the GOP’s image in the American public’s eyes, and it may well prevent Republicans from retaking the Senate and the White House in 2014 and 2016. Even before the shutdown began, polls were warning that more Americans would blame the GOP than Barack Obama for the shutdown. Now, after it has happened, the veteran political analyst Charlie Cook warns us that the shutdown could cost the GOP future elections.

Despite the garbage that the Tea Party and its allies on talk radio like Rush Limbaugh probably feed you, the reality is that the absolute majority of Americans wants moderate policies from the GOP and wants both parties – including Republicans – to compromise. Gallup has demonstrated this repeatedly over the last several years, over and over again, including here, here, here, here,  here, here, and most recently here. In fact, as the shutdown drew closer, Americans’ desire to see the two parties compromise increased.

According to that most recent poll, published just a week before the shutdown, 53% of all Americans (an absolute majority), as well as 56% of moderates, 65% of liberals, 55% of indies, 61% of Democrats, and even a plurality of conservatives (42%) said, just a week before the shutdown, that it was more important to compromise and avert the shutdown than to “stick to principles.” Just 25% of all Americans, and only a third of conservatives, said it’s more important to “stick to principles.”

The two groups most hostile to compromise were Republicans (only 38% supported it) and Tea Partiers (39%). 36% of Republicans and 40% of Tea Partiers said it’s better to “stick to principles” even if it means shutting the federal government down.

This fact is not lost on the American people; by far their biggest criticism of the GOP is that it is “unwilling to compromise.” This is the biggest criticism levied at the GOP by Dems, independents, and even Republicans themselves.

The current government shutdown will only aggravate this problem. The longer it continues, the heavier the toll on the GOP’s and the conservative movement’s image will be.

Contrary to what the Tea Party and the likes of Rush Limbaugh tell you, the GOP is not “Dem lite” or “not conservative enough” and does not want to “surrender” on Obamacare. The GOP is, in fact, criticized by American voters, including a plurality of Republicans, for being too unwilling to compromise. And compromise is not nearly the same thing as surrender – under a compromise, EVERYONE has to swallow unpalatable stuff, Republicans as well as Democrats.

The biggest damage will be in the eyes of moderates, women, youngsters, and minorities – the very voters the GOP will need to win future elections, or to even stay relevant as a party.

Why it’s a bad policy

The shutdown is not only bad politics, it’s bad policy too. The GOP’s objective, as we all know, is to get rid of, or defund, Obamacare. However, that – or any other meaningful policy change – CANNOT come about while Obama is still in office and controls the Senate. Republicans simply CANNOT govern the country from one half of Congress – as the astute Charles Krauthammer, Brent Bozell’s MRC’s latest award recipient, has rightly remarked in a column warning Republicans against the shutdown.

To defund Obamacare, Republicans can do only two things: either shut the entire government down, as they have done, or somehow convince Senate Democrats to pass, and President Obama to sign, a bill defunding Obamacare.

As Krauthammer has warned in his seminal column, there is NO WAY IN HELL Obama will sign into law a bill defunding, or delaying the implementation of, his singular legislative “accomplishment” – the Dems had been waiting for over 50 years to check this item on “FDR’s Unfinished Business List”, as Ann Coulter calls it.

Obama will never agree to anything that defunds his sole legislative “achievement”, the sine qua non of a liberal welfare state, liberals’ Holy Grail. Nor will Senate Democrats, marching in lockstep with Harry Reid, vote for defunding or otherwise gutting Obamacare.

And short of them agreeing to the impossible, the only way to defund Obamacare is to shut the federal government down completely.

Republicans have already tried this, in a way. In 1995, under Newt Gingrich’s leadership, they offered President Clinton a budget funding parts of, but not all, of the federal government; cutting spending faster than he was willing to accept. When Clinton said no, Republicans shut the federal government down – and that killed their chances of winning in 1996. Eventually, Republicans had to agree to a budget on terms not much different from what Clinton offered before the shutdown.

So no, there is no way Republicans can win this shutdown battle – or to defund Obamacare while Obama is still in office.

And let’s use some common sense. Does ANYONE really believe that Republicans can undo ANY meaningful Obama policy – ANY significant part of Obama’s “legacy” – while he’s still in office, wielding a veto pen, a bully pulpit, and a 55-seat Senate majority?

Margaret Thatcher famously said “first you win the argument, then you win the vote.” What she forgot to add is “and only then can you make policy.” Thatcher would’ve never been able to make any policy changes had her party not won a clear majority in the Commons. And that, in turn, would’ve never happened if she had led her party to the right fringe of British politics, alienating the vital center.

Republicans first need to convince a clear majority of Americans that Obamacare still can and should be repealed, then win back the Senate and the White House, and ONLY THEN can they make any policy changes, like repealing Obamacare.

So the shutdown, however it ends, will CLEARLY fail to achieve the GOP’s objective: defunding Obamacare.

The damage to the military

In addition to the damage the shutdown will do to the GOP’s and conservatives’ public image, it will also wreak havoc on the US military, adding greatly to the damage being done by the sequester.

A government shutdown means that eventually, when the money runs out from previous years’ approps, there will be nothing to pay the troops with, no money for their and veterans’ care, and no money for current training and equipment maintenance, operations (like protecting the skies over the US), and the development and acquisition of new equipment, nor to pay DOD civilian employees (the majority of whom are not pencil-pushers but real hard workers, like mechanics at military depots).

Why shut the government down?

The ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu advised against fighting on ground, or at a time, disadvantageous to you, or when the enemy is too strong. He further wisely counseled (The Art of War, ch. 12, v. 17):

“Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.”

So how did America get into this mess in the first place? If the shutdown won’t achieve any conservative policy objective and will only do damage, why was this stand-off started?

Because the fringe of the GOP, including the Tea Party, which views any compromise as betrayal and anything other than scorched-Earth tactics as surrender, demanded that Republicans shut the government down over Obamacare. And most Republicans in Congress, scared to death of a Tea Party primary challenge, listened to the Tea Party and followed suit – thus driving America over the cliff.

Most House Republicans and many GOP Senators, including Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, come from single-party GOP monopolies where most people are hardline conservatives who see any compromise as treason. These politicians live in single-party conservative cocoons and are thus totally detached from reality and out-of-touch with most Americans (as is the Tea Party itself). Just check the PVI ratings of Raul Labrador’s district (ID-1) and of the states of Texas, Utah, and Kentucky. Their districts and states are no more representative of America than Nancy Pelosi’s SF district.

Thus, they have no incentive to compromise, and far more to fear from a Tea Party primary challenger than a general election Democratic opponent. So they continue pushing the country to the brink, as the Tea Party demands, the consequences be damned.

Sadly, they may well take the GOP, and not just the country, over the cliff with them.

Quantitive Pain

Janet Yellen - The Face of Pain
Janet Yellen - The Face of Pain

Janet Yellen – The Face of Pain

Ben Bernanke out, Janet Yellen in. But, don’t worry, the same failed fiscal policy will continue chugging along.

For those playing catchup, since 2008 the Fed has been using a practice called “Quantitative Easing” or QE. Since the interest rates have already been at or near 0%, it’s the Fed’s way of inflating the money supply. The theory goes that by buying financial assets, businesses will have access to easy credit and easy cash, then they’ll open factories, hire employees, and that will get the economy going again.

As it happens, there are two big problems with this plan: the capital is straight out of Wonderland, and everyone knows it.

When the Federal Reserve prints cash to buy assets, business hasn’t improved, there’s no extra demand needing to fill, and there’s no reliable projection to indicate it’s going to get better anytime soon. No decent businessperson is going to expand operations today, knowing they won’t have the magic money tomorrow. In other words, no one is going to take on additional liabilities without confidence they’ll have the revenue to cover them tomorrow.

Much to the contrary, it’s a very dangerous fiscal policy to follow, and one we’re all to familiar with.

When we throw good money after bad, we create an artificially large market: or, a bubble.The problem with bubbles is that they cannot be sustained forever. Already the Fed owns over $2 trillion worth of bonds and other financial assets under QE, but the Fed cannot continue to buy tens of billions of dollars worth of assets every month. The money runs out, and the bubble bursts.

Instead of the markets returning to their natural levels, investors will attempt to avoid losses and pull their cash out as well. The market contracts below its natural growth and the economy contracts. In other words, we go into recession.

This isn’t some big secret. Investors have been paying close attention to the Fed in the hopes of pulling out their cash before the QE fountain runs dry. Companies know it as well, and have been reluctant to grow, knowing the contraction which will eventually follow.

Instead of growing the economy, the Fed’s policy creates a bubble in financial markets which is not reflected in economic growth. Instead of investors being able to judge profits and growth based on customer demand, they play a game of beat-the-Fed, and businesses grow slower than they otherwise would.

Contrary to growing the economy, Quantitative Easing only slows recovery.

If you doubt it, just ask yourself why the Stock Market has hit record highs in 2013, yet unemployment remains at 7.3% and labor participation remains at a 35 year low.

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Federal Government: Embarrassing to the Point of Painful

As the so-called “government shutdown” drags on, one thing is hard not to admit: the Obama Administration is acting in a manner that is attempting to extract the maximum amount of pain on the American people. While many are wondering how it came to this point, those of us who actually paid attention in Social Studies, Civics and American History classes – school subjects that are, today, given little, if any, attention –
understand it’s because the US Constitution and the purity of the original governmental process has been raped by the opportunistic political class.

Our nation has always had a robust political discourse, commencing from before we were even a documented nation. We have always been represented by a passionate, spirited political class; strong in their beliefs, but educated and knowledgeable enough to legislate and govern for the good of all the people. Today, this is not the case.

Today, we have a political class that insists on the importance of ideologically motivated political “achievements” over the honest representation of the American people; loyalty to political faction – of which each and every Framer and Founder warned – over loyalty to those who delivered them to power via the ballot box.

Today, we literally have people in the political class that have an inferior command of the English language, an inferior and under-performing understanding of the principles of the Constitution and the Charters of Freedom, and a devotion to Progressivism; a non-indigenous, Marxist-based ideology that believes the State is the Alpha and the Omega; the giver of rights and the final arbiter of freedom and liberty.

Today, we have a government that does not – does not – serve the American people, evidenced – in a singular point – by the overwhelming and sustained majority of Americans who do not want the Affordable Care Act implemented on any level.

FOX News reports:

Is the Obama administration employing a make-it-hurt strategy to gain political leverage in the budget battle on Capitol Hill?

Republicans are making that charge as the stalemate drags on, and point to the Pentagon furlough of 400,000 civilian staffers — even though Congress passed and the president signed a bill to supposedly keep them on the job…

Republicans argue that the intent of the law was to keep them on the job, and that the Obama administration “narrowly interpreted” it against congressional intent in order to furlough more employees.

It’s one example of how, Republicans say, the administration is making the partial shutdown of government services worse than it needs to be. Many have complained about the National Park Service cordoning off even open-air monuments in Washington, DC, such as the World War II Memorial.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), responded to criticisms by saying, “It is time for Speaker Boehner to stop the games.”

Shamefully, FOX also reported that correspondence on this situation has stalled because, as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), stated, “Unfortunately, most of the staff who draft congressional correspondence are furloughed.”

A few notes on this shameful situation.

First, and to be equally critical to both sides, if “staffers that draft congressional correspondence” have been furloughed, perhaps those elected to Congress should learn to (and actually) write their own correspondence.

Second, to the Progressives, Democrats and our embarrassing President, it is never “game-playing” when the taxpayer’s money is being spent. It is “game-playing” when members of our military who have been maimed and permanently injured can’t get medical care because the politically opportune refuse to entertain appropriations passed through a traditional method (not every spending bill has to be an omnibus package, in fact traditionally, the 12 appropriation bills have been passed separately).

House Republicans “screwed the pooch” when they didn’t advance ACA funding as a separate, stand-alone appropriations bill from the start. When House Speaker Boehner stated that this Congress would operate under “regular order” he should have stated that the House would be de-bundling all legislation into stand-alone pieces, shining the light of truth and accountability on everything that passed across the House floor. Sadly, traditional, inside-the-beltway pork politics prevailed and the practice of bundling legislation to appease the politically greedy has delivered us to this point.

Truth be told, had the political class not blindly followed the Progressive Movement into ratifying the 17th Amendment, none of this would have ever come to pass. But, then, the Commerce Clause wouldn’t have even come close to allowing much of what the Federal government has done that encroaches into our daily lives.

Additionally, if Harry Reid would have operated lawfully, the omnibus appropriations package would have already been legislated, as he is – is – bound by law to have produced a budget by April 15 of each year. He has not done so since before Republicans took control of the House.

The sad, but glaringly true, fact is this. Our government has become too big and too bureaucratic. Our government has manipulated and strayed from the boundaries of the US Constitution, which is a mandated blueprint for limiting government.

Until We the People insist on repealing the 17th Amendment so as to re-employ constitutional protections for the States, and until Congress re-visits the Federal government’s grotesquely over-reaching interpretation of the Commerce Clause, it will be up to the States to save the nation, either by Constitutional Convention (which in and of itself is very dangerous were the original words of the Constitution to be manipulated by the opportunistic) or by, God forbid, secession.

And it is with tears in my eyes for our country; for freedom; for liberty itself, that I acquiesce to the notion. Buy, my God, are we to allow the greatest achievement of freedom in the history of the world be extinguished at the hand of ideological bullies?

The words of Patriot Patrick Henry said so very seriously then, are just as cogent today:

“Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! — I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

To win, Republicans should focus on economics

fairtax

fairtax

As I have written a number of times here on CDN, the GOP is viewed very negatively by the majority of the American public, especially women, youngsters, and minorities – key demographics that the GOP absolutely must win over to remain a viable party, let alone to win future elections.

What is the key to winning their votes? It’s not accepting amnesty for illegal aliens or abortion on demand. Instead, Republicans should focus like a laser on the issue most important to these groups (and to the American electorate at large): the economy.

According to Gallup polling, economic issues (jobs, economic growth, the federal budget, taxes, fair trade) are by far the most important issues for American voters, far more than education, healthcare, or foreign policy. Yet, these days, we seldom hear Washington and the media talk about anything other than Benghazi, Syria, the Obama admin scandals, immigration, and social issues. While these issues are not irrelevant, they pale in importance compared to the economy. It doesn’t matter if the Benghazi scandal is investigated fully if the economy doesn’t recover and unemployed Americans (including college grads) don’t find jobs.

It’s the economy, stupid!

Republicans need to note that and act accordingly. Luckily, there’s a huge opening for Republicans here, because, as stated above, BOTH major parties and the media seldom talk about the economy, despite its importance to American voters (including the key demographics listed above), so Republicans have a chance to distinguish themselves from the Democrats.

From now on, Republicans should devote only a minimum amount of time and hearings to Benghazi, Syria, Obama admin scandals, and social issues, and devote the vast majority of their time and legislation to the economy, while also conducting town hall meetings, listening tours, and media interviews on that subject – and thus, force the media and the Democrats to shift the subject of the national discourse to the economy.

Thus, Republicans would force Obama and the Democrats to fight on grounds favorable to Republicans – grounds where the Democrats cannot win.

But just talking about the economy won’t be enough; one must also propose, and attempt to implement, effective policies. Specifically, Republicans should pass in the House, and introduce in the Senate, bills that would:

  1. Cut spending seriously along the lines proposed in the Ryan Plan or, even better, the Republican Study Committee’s plan, e.g. the RSC’s Spending Reduction Act.
  2. Privatize government-owned enterprises such as Amtrak, the Postal Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, etc.
  3. Provide full funding and a permanent authorization for the Export-Import Bank, which supports US industry and exporters without providing any subsidies.
  4. Institute the Export-Import Certificates for foreign countries proposed by Warren Buffett – thus allowing foreign countries to export to the US only as much as they import from the US, and also institute strict product quality standards on foreign (including Chinese) products.
  5. Strengthen Buy American laws.
  6. Utterly reject any form of amnesty for illegal aliens and dramatically cut down the levels of immigration, both legal and illegal, while making it easier for highly-skilled foreign workers and university grads to immigrate to the US and contribute to the US economy.
  7. Block-grand Medicaid to the states and pass Medicare and SS reform.
  8. Pass legislation that would legalize fracking throughout the country, open all shale oil and NG reserves, open the ANWR and the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, authorize the Keystone Pipeline over Obama’s objections, and authorize offshore oil drilling.
  9. And most importantly, abolish the IRS, the Internal Revenue Code, and the 16th Amendment and replace them with the FairTax (H.R. 25). The IRS is not an agency whose powers have been abused – the IRS and the federal income tax are DESIGNED for abuse. They are DESIGNED to be tools of oppression per se. Making the income tax flat, or eliminating section 501(c)3, or “improving oversight”, or passing a mild reform bill will NOT solve the problem, because it would still leave the IRS (with its awesome audit and status denial powers and its huge bureaucracy) and the income tax (which punishes people for productivity and takes away what they’ve earned) still in place. So a flat income tax would change NOTHING. ONLY the FairTax bill (H.R. 25) would solve the problem by abolishing the IRS and the income tax FOREVER, mandating the destruction of all personal records held by the IRS (except those related to SS, which would be transferred to the SSA), and initating the repeal of the 16th Amendment.
  10. States should also enact significant economic reform by cutting taxes and spending, implementing tort reform (including the Loser Pays rule), and adopting Right-to-Work laws.

Last but not least, Republicans should explain, in detail, to average Americans how exactly these policies would benefit them directly. This is something that Republicans have so far failed to do.

In trying to win future elections, Republicans will be climbing uphill. But the economy is not an issue of just one special interest group or one demographic. It is an issue which all Americans care about, and the vast majority prioritize above all other issues, yet, the media and Washington seldom talk about it. If Republicans start prioritizing the economy instead of Benghazi and Syria, they’ll show the public they are totally different – they’ll offer a totally different, and a much different, product to a public that is eager to buy it.

The Flat Tax fantasy

fairtax

fairtax

In the wake of the recent IRS scandal, some well-intentioned but badly misguided people have begun touting the flat income tax (called the flat tax for shorthand) as a replacement for the current tax code. They claim it would be an antidote to the IRS’s abuses and curb that agency’s powers while also supercharging America’s economy.

But they are dead wrong. The flat tax is no solution at all. It would not solve any of the problems with the current tax code and the IRS, and it could be replaced with a progressive income tax by the next Congress anyway.

Here’s why the flat tax would utterly fail to solve the problem, and why the FairTax – a flat 23% consumption tax designed to replace all federal internal taxes (income, payroll, excise, gift, death, etc.) is the solution:

  • The flat tax would still be an income tax, and as such, would still punish hard work, wealth creation, productivity, and savings, taking away from people what they have earned. Making an income tax flat does not change the fact that it is still a punitive tax on INCOME. By contrast, the FairTax, as a consumption tax, would be levied only on retail sales, not on income, inheritance, or the sales of raw materials or unfinished products.
  • With the flat [income] tax, you would still have to file tax returns every year by April 15th, and be liable for any mistakes you make therein. With the FairTax, there would be no such problems.
  • Administering the flat [income] tax would still require having a large IRS with dozens of thousands of staff to receive and review tax returns, audit people and organizations, and punish cheaters, and the IRS would, of course, retail ALL of the awesome powers it currently has, all of its staff, and all of its budget – and would still retain all your financial records. By contrast, with the FairTax, the IRS would be abolished PERMANENTLY, and under the FairTax bill (H.R. 25), all IRS records would have to be destroyed within 2 years of the FairTax being enacted – the sole exception being records related to Social Security, but these would be turned over to the Social Security Administration, not retained by the Treasury.
  • Unlike the flat [income] tax, the FairTax would be administered by the states, who would then send the revenue (minus their costs of administering the FairTax) to the federal government. Thus, it would dramatically shift the balance of power in the US in favor of the states and against the federal government. There would only be a federal Sales Tax Bureau with 51 personnel to audit the states in rare cases of state malfeasance.
  • The flat [income] tax would keep the current tax code, although it would be somewhat slimmed down from today’s 70,000 pages. The FairTax would abolish the federal tax code completely and replace it with the simple 123-page FairTax Act.
  • The FairTax would provide sufficient revenue for Social Security, though not for the entire federal Leviathan that exists in Washington today.
  • The FairTax would be completely transparent – you would know how much you pay in taxes everytime you make a retail purchase. By contrast, even under the flat tax, you would not know how much you really pay in taxes.
  • The flat [income] tax would keep the 16th Amendment. The FairTax Act would jumpstart the process of REPEALING the 16th Amendment forever, and would sunset (i.e. expire) automatically 7 years after its enactment if the 16th Amendment is not repealed within that time. But once Congress passed a resolution repealing the 16th Amendment, the states would be eager to ratify such resolution, as it would shift the balance of power in their favor.
  • The flat [income] tax would keep tax exemptions and thus allow the IRS to decide who deserves them and who doesn’t. Conservative groups applying for such exemptions would still face IRS audits.
  • And last but not least, the flat [income] tax would not remain flat for long. The next Congress could repeal it and replace it with a progressive one. The evidence? The current monstrosity of a tax code started in 1913 as a flat income tax at a 4% rate. But just 4 years later, in 1917, it was a heavily progressive income tax, with a maximum 77% rate. Although the maximum rate was later cut under the Coolidge Administration to 24%, it was still a progressive income tax – and 24% was still a rate that not even the most fervent advocate of the income tax had hoped for in 1913. Similarly, when President Reagan and the Congress enacted the 1986 tax reform bill, creating only two low rates, it took the Congress and Reagan’s successor, George “Read My Lips” H. W. Bush, only 4 years to add two new, higher rates, and thousands of pages, gimmicks, exemptions, and loopholes, thus essentially undoing President Reagan’s tax reform in just 4 years.

The flat [income] tax is not a solution. It would not solve ANY of the problems with the current tax code, the IRS, the 16th Amendment, the income tax itself, or the US political system. Only the FairTax would do that – by doing away with the income tax, the IRS, and the 16th Amendment PERMANENTLY.

It is no coincidence that the FairTax bill now has over 70 sponsors and cosponsors in both houses of Congress (including such conservative stars as Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Tom Price), while the flat tax bill has only one sponsor in the Senate and no companion bill in the House.

The flat tax is not a solution to anything and should not even be considered.

fairtax

 

Shock! IMF cuts global economic forecast.. for third time this year

chart-imf-620xa

chart-imf-620xaTuesday, the IMF updated it’s World Economic Outlook downgrading three-out-of-four of the world’s most powerful economies.

While the Eurozone was given an outlook putting them more into reverse, the U.S. and China are now expected to grow even more slowly than the previous projections. Only Japan was given an improved outlook.

News reports have spun the three consecutive downgrades as showing the global economy “in nuetral”, but declining expectations and now U.S. small business sentiment dropping in June paints a much more bleak picture – the recovery that has been heralded seems not to be materializing.

There are approximately 9 million fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than when the recession started. With only 47% of adults holding full-time jobs, things are not likely to improve soon as government programs pull more money out of the economy through fees and taxation and leave less capital for growth and investment.

The latest Bureau of Labor statistics report echoes the IMF’s report. The report showed that job growth was mainly in part-time jobs and that a large portion of the American workforce remains unemployed which gives no reason to doubt the recent IMF downgrade.

Emerging markets took a hit as well. Brazil had it’s growth prediction dropped from 3% to 2.5%.

Rebuttal of the WSJ’s garbage pro-disarmament screed

142074.439nuclear_explosion

On June 19th, after Barack Obama’s infamous Berlin speech, the Wall Street Journal published an utterly ridiculous, irredeemably biased, and misleading article propagandizing in favor of Obama’s proposals to further cut America’s nuclear deterrent. The screed, written by extreme leftists Adam Entous and Julian Barnes, proves how far the WSJ has moved by now, and proves that the WSJ is no longer a respectable, credible publication.

The screed makes numerous utterly false claims, attempts to smear and demonize Republicans, and quotes only the claims and “arguments” of the supporters of cutting America’s deterrent. Only supporters of cuts are quoted or allowed any say; no opponents are quoted and no arguments against the cuts are cited.

In short, the article is nothing but a shameless propaganda screed masquerading as an objective article, and can have no purpose other than to brainwash and mislead the public.

The central lie of the article – and of the numerous nuclear cuts supporters it quotes – is that even after Obama’s newest round of cuts in America’s deterrent, the US will still have enough weapons to deter Russia, China, and others:

“A one-third cut would allow Washington and Moscow to lower the number of warheads to between 1,000 and 1,100 each, down from the New Start limit of 1,550. That still would leave them with more than enough warheads to deter any current or future adversary, said U.S. officials.

“The president determined that we can ensure the security of the United States, and our allies and partners, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while safely pursuing up to a one-third reduction in deployed strategic nuclear weapons from the level established in the New Start treaty,” a senior Obama administration official said of Mr. Obama’s message in the speech. (…)

The senior administration official said the disputes between the U.S. and Russia over Syria and missile defense shouldn’t affect talks over nuclear reductions because both the U.S. and Russia are acting based on what they see as their interests.

“If we both determine that it is in our interest to work together to reduce our arsenals even further, then we’ll move in that direction,” the official said. “I think that’s irrespective of other issues in the relationship.”

Advocates of further cuts say the number of warheads in the U.S. arsenal even after the proposed cuts would be more than sufficient to deter not only Russia but also a rising China, which has an inventory of 250 nuclear weapons, according to the Federation of American Scientists and other organizations. (…)

“If you still have 1,100 weapons that is pretty good deterrence,” said one U.S. official.”

Those claims are blatant lies. 1,000-1,100 warheads would be utterly inadequate to deter Russia or China, let alone both at once. This is because, in order to deter, you need to be able to:

a) have enough weapons to credibly threaten the destruction of the vast majority of the enemy’s assets if he commits aggression; and

b) survive any enemy first strike to conduct retaliation.

And for that, a LARGE nuclear arsenal – far larger than a mere 1,000 warheads – is needed. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the US needs between 2,700 and 3,000 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads for effective deterrence.

Why is a large nuclear arsenal needed, and why will it always be needed?

Because both Russia and China have large arsenals, countering which will require far more than just 1,000 warheads. (China’s arsenal is far larger than the FAS claims – more about that below.)

Russia

Russia has 434 ICBMs, all of which except Topol and Topol-M missiles carry multiple warheads; collectively, they can deliver at least 1,259 warheads to the CONUS. 58 of these are “Satan” heavy ICBMs with 10 warheads and up to 38 countermeasures each. It has just fielded a road-mobile ICBM also capable of carrying 10 warheads: the Yars-M. Furthermore, it has 251 intercontinental bombers (63 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, 171 Tu-22Ms, though not all of them are combat-capable at all times) and 14 ballistic missile submarines (5 Delta III, 7 Delta IV, 1 Typhoon, 1 Borei class), all of which can carry 16 SLBMs. Each of these, in turn, can carry 4-12 warheads – the R-29M Sinyeva carrying four to ten, the SS-NX-30 Bulava ten, and the R-29RMU2 Liner twelve warheads each. Russia’s bombers can each carry 3-6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on its wings and one nuclear freeball bomb in the bay.

That’s just Russia’s strategic nuclear triad. Russia also has a vast tactical nuclear arsenal, consisting of, according to various estimates, up to 4,000 warheads. All of these are deliverable by a wide range of systems, including submarines, their cruise missiles, surface ships, artillery pieces, short-range missiles, and tactical strike aircraft.

Russia is now steadily growing and modernizing its nuclear arsenal. It is developing several new ICBM types: the “Son of Satan” heavy ICBM (10 warheads), a rail-mobile ICBM, the “Avangard” ICBM, and a “pseudo-ICBM” with a 6,000 km range, in addition to the forementioned Yars-M now entering service. Moscow is also developing a new bomber type (due to enter service in 2020) and fielding a new class of up to ten Borei class SSBNs.

As numerous distinguished analysts have observed, Russia has significantly increased, not cut, its nuclear arsenal under New START, and Mark Schneider warns Moscow will actually deploy more strategic warheads than New START’s “notional limits” allow, and that New START places no limits on the size or payload (including number of warheads carried) of the Russian forces. It is also building up its Tu-160 bomber fleet from stockpiled components. And, the introduction of newer Bulava and Liner SLBMs, capable of carrying – as noted above – 10 and 12 warheads, respectively, will dramatically increase the warhead carriage capacity of its SSBN fleet.

China

As for China, contrary to the FAS’s and WSJ’s lies, it has far more nuclear weapons than just 250. Former Russian missile force Chief of Staff Gen. Viktor Yesin estimates (based on China’s fissile material stocks and Russian intelligence data) that China has 1,600 to 1,800 nuclear warheads, while former DOD chief nuclear strategist Professor Philip Karber estimates China has up to 3,000 warheads, based partly on its vast, 3,000-mile-long network of tunnels for strategic missiles and their warheads. (You don’t build such a vast network for only 250 warheads.) Reputed analysts such as John Tkacik and Frank Gaffney consider these figures credible.

To deliver its warheads, China has:

  • 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs (capable of carrying up to 10 warheads each); over 30 DF-31/31A ICBMs (4 warheads each), 20 single-warhead DF-4 IRBMs, and some DF-41 heavy ICBMs (10 warheads each);
  • 6 ballistic missile submarines capable of carrying at least 12 ballistic missiles each, each missile carrying 4 warheads, thus making the Chinese navy able to deliver 288 warheads (6*12*4), and even more if their SSBNs can carry more than 12 missiles each;
  • 20 DF-3 and at least 80 (probably many more) DF-21 MRBMs, one warhead each;
  • 440 nuclear bombs for its 440 strike aircraft (Q-5, JH-7, H-6), and possibly nuclear warheads for the CJ-10A cruise missiles arming China’s H-6 bombers;
  • over 1,600 SRBMs (though most of them are probably conventionally-armed); and
  • a large quantity of ground-launched CJ-10 and DH-10 cruise missiles.

This writer estimated last year, very conservatively, that China has at least 1,274 immediately deliverable nuclear warheads – without counting ANY of China’s SRBMs or GLCMs as nuclear-armed. In any case, it is a blatant lie to claim China has only 250 warheads when China’s airforce alone has at least 440 nuclear bombs for its strike aircraft, a fact acknowledged by General Yesin.

Not only that, China is rapidly modernizing all three legs of its nuclear triad. It is now introducing new DF-41 ICBMs, DF-25 MRBMs, and a sixth Jin class ballistic missile sub, and bombing

So no, America WILL NOT be able to maintain nuclear deterrence against either Russia and China if Obama gets to cut America’s arsenal further. Any claim to the contrary is a blatant lie.

And anyone claiming that, with a mere 1,000 warheads, the US will be able to deter “any current or future adversary” is a  fool or a congenital liar. How can anyone predict what capabilities and how many weapons will future adversaries have?

Nobody can accurately predict that. Nobody knows what the future holds.

Yet, the mission of America’s nuclear deterrent is to protect America and over 30 allies not just against the threats of today, but also those of the future. The larger your nuclear arsenal, the larger your margin of safety is.

Nobody who claims to support nuclear deterrence or to be concerned about current security and deterrence requirements can support further cuts in America’s deterrent. Cutting it – and thus weakening the US military – will only gravely  undermine deterrence and US and allied security.

In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!

Yet, the WSJ screed further quotes disarmament supporters (and only them):

“”Action by the president to achieve further cuts to the Cold War nuclear arsenal is overdue and in our national security interest,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.”

Those are also blatant lies. As I have demonstrated above, if Obama cuts America’s barely-adequate nuclear arsenal further, the US will no longer be able to deter Russia and China, both of whom retain large nuclear arsenals, which they are growing, not cutting. Obama’s nuclear deterrent cuts will imperil America’s and its allies’ security.

Cutting America’s nuclear deterrent is absolutely AGAINST America’s national security interest and is not “overdue” – it should never happen.

Moreover, Kimball – whose organization is funded by a plethora of extremely leftist groups to propagandize on behalf of disarming America unilaterally and is PAID TO LIE for the sake of disarming America – has shown he (like his bundlers) completely rejects any notion of peace through strength and subscribes to a notion of peace through weakness.

Of course, his claims – and the notions on which they’re based – are utterly wrong. It is military STRENGTH, not weakness, that brings about national security and peace. Weakness, including cutting one’s own nuclear deterrent, only brings about aggression, war, death, and destruction – as the US and numerous other countries have experienced throughout history.

The WSJ also claims that:

“Advocates of cuts say they would help save money as the Pentagon struggles to cope with deep, automatic spending cuts.

A 2013 assessment by the Arms Control Association estimated that the U.S. could save $58 billion over the next decade by reducing its nuclear force to 1,000 or fewer strategic deployed nuclear warheads.”

But those claims are also utterly false. Cutting the nuclear deterrent would “save” only pennies and thus would not help the DOD cope with deep defense budget cuts at all – while inviting a Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike.

The ACA’s own $58 billion figure is not only vastly exaggerated, but also decennial: it talks about “savings” over 10 years.  divided by 10 years is just $5.8 bn per year – only a drop in the bucket. Remember that under sequestration, the DOD is obligated to cut its budget by a whopping $55 bn EVERY YEAR.

The cuts Obama and the ACA would save close to nothing – while gutting America’s nuclear deterrent.

The WSJ article (not people quoted in it, but the article’s authors themselves) claims that:

“Calling for a significant cut in the size of the nuclear arsenal will lend Mr. Obama’s remarks historical significance.”

But if these remarks will have any historical significance, it will be because his speech will go down as one of the most shameful moments in American history – when a sitting US president blatantly lied and called for unilaterally disarming his own country.

The WSJ article also falsely claims that:

“Mr. Obama has made reducing the size of global nuclear arsenals a priority of his administration, but the effort stalled after the 2010 treaty. Mr. Obama struggled to get the treaty ratified. Republicans in Congress demanded a costly nuclear-modernization program and have made clear they oppose additional warhead reductions.”

Oh, those dastardly Congressional Republicans! How dare they demand that what is left of America’s arsenal is modernized instead of atrophying through neglect!

The fact is that the modernization Republicans demanded would not be costly at all. Modernizing the B61 warhead will cost only 10 bn over several years, for example. A new ICBM could cost only 70 mn.

The real reason why Obama’s effort to “reduce the size of global nuclear arsenals” has stalled is because NOBODY except Obama’s America wants to disarm themselves. Not Russia, which rejected Obama’s arsenal cuts proposal shortly after it was made. Not China, which refuses to even talk about its arsenal, let alone accept any limitations on it. Not North Korea, which continues to grow and perfect its nuclear arsenal and threaten the US and its allies. Not India and Pakistan, hostile to each other and desiring to retain their nukes. Not Israel, which is surrounded by enemies on all sides. Not even Britain or France, whose nuclear arsenals’ importance will only grow as America cuts its own.

THAT is why Obama’s effort has gone nowhere – because nobody else is crazy enough to disarm themselves.

There will NEVER be a world without nuclear weapons. NEVER. Obama will never succeed in getting other nations to disarm themselves – because nobody else is crazy enough to do so.

And the reason why Obama “struggled” to get New START ratified is because it was never, and is not, in America’s national interests – it undermines US national security, contains dozens of huge loopholes, and allows Russia to build up its nuclear arsenal – which it has been doing since New START ratification.

The WSJ also falsely claims that Obama can make further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent without any Congressional oversight:

“Nuclear-arms experts said Mr. Obama doesn’t need to wait for a formal follow-on treaty to move on new reductions. The two presidents instead could achieve similar results, more rapidly, through parallel, reciprocal reductions of strategic warheads to well below 1,000 within the next five years. (…)

… the White House hasn’t ruled out an alternative approach of seeking parallel, reciprocal reductions that could be undertaken by both governments without a treaty, eliminating the need for Senate ratification.”

That is also patently false. Section 2573 of Title 22 of the US Code states that ANY agreement limiting the US armed forces, armaments, or weapon inventories must be drafted as a treaty and thus submitted to the Senate for ratification. No ifs, no buts, no ands. Obama is obligated by law to submit such agreement to the Senate.

Thus, any cuts Obama makes to America’s nuclear deterrent without a formal Senate-approved treaty would be utterly illegal and grounds for impeachment, in addition to being treasonous.

Moreover, without a treaty and a strong verification protocol, such cuts would be utterly unverifiable, making it highly likely that Russia would cheat and not make any cuts at all. Historically, Moscow has NEVER complied with any arms reduction treaties it has signed.

The WSJ screed is irredeemably biased

But the numerous blatant lies stated in the article aren’t the only reason why it’s a scandalous screed. It’s also because the authors, clearly taking sides, quoted only ONE side of the issue – the side favoring further cuts in America’s arsenal – while not asking any opponents of further cuts to voice their opinion. Nobody from the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Hudson Institute, the NIPP, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, or any other non-extremely-leftist institution has been asked to comment.

Nor does the article cite any arguments against the cuts, even though there are many. The article barely mentions the concerns of some of America’s allies:

“Some European officials voiced concerns that Russia won’t reciprocate with equal warhead reductions and will balk at cutting its tactical-nuclear-weapons arsenal. Russia maintains some 2,000 tactical nuclear bombs, many of which are on obsolete naval and air-defense systems, according to an analysis by the Arms Control Association, which advocates for reductions in the nuclear arsenal. The U.S., in turn, keeps 180 aircraft-delivered nuclear bombs in Europe.”

And by gushing about the speech’s “historical significance”, the authors clearly betrayed their bias in favor of the deep cuts Obama plans to make.

In short, their screed is irredeemably biased, highly misleading, contains a litany of blatant lies, and clearly serves only one purpose: to brainwash the public into supporting Obama’s unilateral disarmament of America.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324520904578554010643116452.html

EDIT: To be fair, the WSJ’s editors, by contrast, penned an editorial criticizing Barack Obama’s disarmament plans and pointing out – quite rightly – that his legacy will be a world with more nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed states in it.

Rebuttal of Kingston Reif’s and Greg Thielmann’s newest lies – about missile defense

North_Korean_missile_range

North_Korean_missile_range

Kingston Reif – a pacifist propagandist working for the extremely-leftist “Council for a Livable World” – has shown his utter ignorance, as well as his extremely leftist beliefs and desires to disarm the US unilaterally, on quite a few occassions, and in December, I even took the time to completely refute his utter garbage calling for scrapping the nuclear triad. Since then, however, Reif has not stoppped writing his ignorant leftist garbage, and has recently (on June 4th) written a screed in the liberal Time magazine criticizing House Republicans for “all sorts of madness on nuclear weapons, missile defense, and related issues” – especially their proposal to create an East Coast missile defense site in the northeastern United States (e.g. New York state or Maine).

Reif claims that it would be “unnecessary, technically dubious, and cost-ineffective”.

Regarding the latter, he invokes CBO’s estimate that creating such a site would cost $3.6 bn over 5 years, and another by the National Academy of Sciences saying that their proposed “evolved GMD system” would cost $25.4 bn over 20 years.

But those numbers are not only small by themselves, they’re even small when put into perspective on a per year basis. Reif, to exaggerate the cost and scaremonger taxpayers, conveniently omits the “over X years” part of the price tag.

Divided over 5 years, $3.6 bn is $720 mn; that is 0.152% of the DOD’s base budget for FY2014 even under sequestration ($475 bn), or % if sequestration is cancelled (the DOD’s base budget would then be $526 bn).

Divided over 20 years, $25.4 bn is $1.27 bn, i.e. 0.276% of the DOD’s base budget for FY2014 even under sequestration.

So the cost would be tiny – a small fraction of one percent of the base defense budget even with sequestration accounted for. A fraction of 1% of the DOD’s budget is all that it would cost to build an EC missile defense site.

Reif claims it’s “unnecessary.” But the DOD and the Intelligence Community estimate Iran will have an ICBM in 2015/2016. That is just 2-3 years from now. So the US has just 2-3 years to prepare itself for a potential Iranian ICBM threat. Iran has made considerable progress  in long-range missile development, including being able to launch satellites into orbit (e.g. with the Safir space rocket).

Reif invokes the recent statement by VADM James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, that money for East Coast missile defense would not be used in the next FY. Of course, Syring was just expressing the position of the leftist Obama Administration – he can’t speak against his own president. But former Missile Defense Agency Director Henry “Trey” Obering, in a recent article, has expressed strong support for an East Coast BMD site.

In his screed, Reif totally contradicts himself, claiming, alternately, that the current ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California are either sufficient for protecting the East Coast or deficient and unreliable. He alternately claims they already offer adequate protection… or don’t work at all. So which is it, Kingston?

As for thereal experts on the issue (other than Gen. Obering), current Strategic Command leader Gen. Bob Kehler says that:

“I am confident that we can defend against a limited attack from Iran, although we are not in the most optimum posture to do that today… it doesn’t provide total defense today.”

The Commander of the Northern Command (charged with defending the US homeland and Canada), Gen. Charles Jacoby, says that the current GBI system is “sub-optimum.” This is no surprise; the interceptors in Alaska and California would be at the extreme margin of their performance envelopes if tasked with shooting down an ICBM heading for the East Coast.

A “sub-optimum” defense posture is not good enough. Not even close.

Moreover, in March, just 3 months ago, Gen. Jacoby told the Senate:

“What a third site gives me, whether it’s on the East Coast or an alternate location, would be increased battle space; that means increased opportunity for me to engage threats from either Iran or North Korea.”

Also in March, Gen. Jacoby told the House:

“I would agree that a third site, wherever the decision is to build a third site, would give me better weapons access, increased GBI inventory and allow us the battle space to more optimize our defense against future threats from Iran and North Korea.”

Doesn’t this nation owe it to the Northern Command – the one charged with protecting the homeland?

The requirement for a third site to protect against Iranian ICBMs was also stated in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, which said:

“… defense of the US homeland will be augmented by Europe-based SM-3 Block IIB interceptors, which are planned to be able to provide an early-intercept capability against potential Iranian ICBMs.”

But the SM-3 Block 2B has been cancelled now, so an EC missile defense site is needed.

Reif also claims that the proposal is “technically dubious” because GBIs supposedly don’t work. Here, he’s wrong as well. GBIs have passed most of their tests, including a recent flight test, and more tests are planned for later months. The interceptors themselves work, as do their current, first generation kill vehicles (kinetic “warhead” counterparts). Critics love to seize on the two failed intercept tests from 2010, but in those tests, it was a new generation of kill vehicles that failed – not the older kill vehicles, and not the missiles themselves. The MDA, in any case, is working to solve the problem.

And even if and when a weapon fails, this teaches us something and doesn’t mean the weapon can never work. Quite the contrary. The Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile – the first American nuclear-armed missile deployed on submarines – failed the vast majority of its tests: 17 out of 22. Yet, it passed 5, was ultimately proven to work (with President Kennedy watching), and was deployed on 41 USN ballistic missile subs – and later became the basis for the development of the Trident ballistic missile.

Reif bemoans the GBI’s low ability to distinguish real missiles and warheads from decoys. But the MDA actually had a program to solve that problem – called the Multiple Kill Vehicle, essentially a bus carrying dozens of small kill vehicles sufficient to kill all warheads and countermeasures – until April 2009, when President Obama killed the program and when General Obering had already retired. (General Obering, of course, points this out in his piece.)

So the problem of enabling GBIs to discriminate between genuine targets – like real missiles and warheads – and decoys can be solved quite easily, if the MKV program is simply revived.

Reif complains that there is “no guarantee” that this problem will ever be solved and the GBI system made highly effective. Actually, in life, there is no guarantee of anything. There is no guarantee that your car will always start (especially in winter), or that your bus, train, or flight won’t be delayed, or that even the best friends will not fail you, or that even the most reliable weapons will always work perfectly.

There is no perfect person, vehicle, weapon, plane, ship, or anything that humans make.

But if the development and improvement of ground-based interceptors is continued, and the MKV program revived, there’s a high likelihood that these interceptors will become highly effective.

Moreover, Reif and other missile defense opponents are contradicting themselves. On the one hand, they claim that US BMD systems can’t distinguish real warheads from decoys, but OTOH, they also claim that North Korea and Iran don’t know how to mate nuclear warheads to missiles.

But if they don’t know how, they also certainly don’t know how to make credible decoys (or mate them to missiles). Why? Because decoys, in order to deceive anyone, must EXACTLY match real warheads in size and flight patterns – they must look and fly exactly like the real thing. Any decoy not matching a real warhead EXACTLY in size, shape, and flight patterns will immediately be seen on radars as what it really is – a fake.

In order to make a fake of something that exactly matches that “something” in size, shape, and flight patterns, you must first be able to make the real thing. Otherwise, you don’t know how to mimic it exactly. It’s simple logic.

So simple logic alone utterly refutes the lies of missile defense opponents like Reif. It exposes their real motivation – ideological, implacable knee-jerk opposition to missile defense per se, which motivates them to make any false claims, even contradictory ones.

You can’t have it both ways, Kingston. Either North Korea and Iran  can make credible decoys and mate them with missiles – in which case they can do the same with real warheads – or they can’t.

In short, there is a clear need for the East Coast missile defense site; it would be cheap; and if the GBI system continues to be developed and improved, and if the MKV program is revived, the system can become very effective.

Like Reif, ACA’s Greg Thielmann falsely claims that an East Coast missile defense site – and deploying the now-cancelled SM-3 Block 2B missile also intended against ICBM – would be too expensive and that the Iranian ballistic missile threat hasn’t even even begun to emerge. He even claims it’s doubtful that Iran will have an ICBM by the end of this decade.

But that threat has already begun to emerge: the US intel community and the DOD estimate Iran will have an ICBM by 2015/2016, and it could simply buy one from North Korea or China. It has already (allegedly) bought Musudan-ri MRBMs (with a 4,000 km range) from North Korea and has developed its own solid-fuel Sejjil and Ashoura MRBMs with a range of 2,500 kms. Moreover, it has also launched a satellite into space, thus making a huge step towards constructing an ICBM and demonstrating the capability to mate nuclear payloads with missiles.

Again, this truth must be repeated: the technology used to install satellites on missiles is THE SAME as that used to mate warheads to missiles. Fact.

Moreover, the point of defense, including missile defense, is to stay AHEAD of the threat, not to barely keep up with it. Yet, the US intel community and the DOD project Iran to have an ICBM by 2015/2016, so the US now has only 2-3 years to build an East Coast missile defense site.

But Thielmann goes even further, falsely claiming that North Korea doesn’t have ICBMs either and that its successful December 2012 launch of a satellite on an Unha-3 (Taepodong-2) rocket, i.e. on an ICBM. Again, the technology used to marry satellites and warheads to missiles is the same.

Moreover, after that successful launch, the South Koreans retrieved the upper stages and the delivery bus of the rocket from water; TheDailyBeast investigative journalist Eli Lake was the first to report this fact. The retrieved pieces of the missile demonstrated that North Korea DOES have the ability to marry payloads to missiles. CDN’s Defense Issues Weekly duly reported the story.

North Korea’s TD-2 ICBM, capable of reaching the CONUS, was the basis for the successful space rocket. On top of that, North Korea also has the road-mobile KN-08 ICBM, whose existence and genuity were recognized by the DOD (spoken for by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld) in March.

Thielmann also wrongly touts the utterly false numbers given for Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris (for Russia, 466 ICBMs and SLBMs and less than 1,500 deployed warheads; for China, only 300 warheads and 50-75 ICBMs and SLBMs). This is supposed to prove that even the Russian and Chinese nuclear threat isn’t big; like other advocates of America’s disarmament, he dramatically understates the real size of China’s nuclear arsenal.

But both countries have far more weapons than that. Russia has 434 ICBMs and 224 SLBMs (16 for each of its 14 ballistic missile subs), a total of 658 intercontinental missiles, and 1,550, not 1,466, deployed strategic warheads – right at New START limits. (It has significantly built its arsenal up since New START’s ratification, while the US has had to cut its own.)

China has at least 86 ICBMs, plus at least 60 SLBMs on its five Jin class submarines (which, contrary to Thielmann’s blatant lies, ARE operational, and China has 5 of these, not merely 2), plus another 12 on its Xia class sub. And China’s real nuclear arsenal numbers at least 1,600-1,800, not 300-400, warheads.

Thielmann also falsely claims that Russia and China have many common interests that make their attacks on the US unlikely. This is also a blatant lie.

The US and China share no interests whatsoever; their national interests are diametrically opposed. The US wants to safeguard freedom of navigation at sea and in the air, freedom of trade and travel around the world, and to preserve its own and its Pacific’ allies security, as well as the international rules-based order. China wants to replace the US as the world’s top power, turn the Western Pacific into an internal Chinese lake, seize the Okinawa, the Senkakus, the Spratlys, Taiwan, and goodness knows what else, and push the US out of Asia completely.

China has behaved in a very hostile manner towards the US, whether by harassing unarmed American ships, stalking American carriers, blinding American satellites with lasers, threatening war with the US, or launching massive cyberattacks on US networks. The same is true of Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin openly vents his hatred of the US at every opportunity, while conducting an arms race against America, bullying US diplomats, launching his own cyberattacks on America, and supplying America’s enemies around the world (including Iran) with weapons and nuclear fuel.

Russia and the US share very few, if any, interests.

Lastly, Thielmann falsely claims that missile defense is impeding new arms control agreements and “additional” cuts in Russia’s arsenal. This is totally false. Since the late 2000s, Russia has not been cutting anything; under New START, it has significantly increased its nuclear arsenal.

Moreover, both Russia and China know that America’s current and planned missile defense systems are of limited scope and capability – capable enough against Iran and North Korea, but not against Russia’s and China’s much more advanced missiles, let alone the huge arsenals that Moscow and Beijing have. The idea that US missile defense systems pose any threat whatsoever to Russia’s or China’s nuclear arsenals is utterly ridiculous – like everything that Thielmann and his Arms Control Association colleagues write.

Thielmann’s ACA program is ridiculously called the “Realistic Threat Assessment Project”; in fact, it’s a Threat Dramatic Understatement Project and should be called that way.

Thus, Kingston Reif’s and Greg Thielmann’s claims have once again been exposed for what they really are – blatant lies.

How to counter Chinese hacking and theft of US weapon designs

changwanquan

changwanquan

 

Gen. Chang Wanquan, the current Chinese Minister of National Defense. Photo by the Central Military Commission of the PRC.

On Tuesday, May 28th, the Washington Post and the Washington Free Beacon reported, and the DOD confirmed, that designs and performance parameters (and other classified information) for dozens of US weapon systems had been stolen in recent weeks by Chinese hackers, as warned by a Defense Science Board report.

Among the weapons whose designs have been stolen by Chinese hackers are top-drawer systems such as the V-22 Osprey, the THAAD and Aegis missile defense systems, and the F-35 strike jet, as well as some older and obsolete systems like the PATRIOT air and missile defense complex and the F/A-18 naval strike jet.

In any case, this is arguably the biggest breach of classified information – and certainly the biggest theft of US weapon designs – in US (if not world) history, overshadowing the theft of US nuclear weapon designs by Soviet spies in the 1940s and Chinese spies during the Clinton years.

(And yet, lawmakers and the Obama administration want to downgrade and soften the US export control system, to make it even easier to export weapons to China and other hostile countries. Thus, the US is essentially giving China the gun with which to kill American troops.)

The meteoric rise of China’s military might has been partially aided by espionage, including cyberespionage. Sun Tzu, who devoted an entire chapter of his Art of War to spies and believed that knowledge of the enemy can be provided only by citizens and officials of the enemy country, would’ve been amazed by the espionage possibilities that hacking has opened – and Chinese hackers’ success in doing so.

How can the US counter this Chinese cyber onslaught? Here’s how.

Firstly, the US needs to publicly recognize China as an adversary. Top US officials, including the President, need to state this publicly and unambigously, and rally the nation to take action against China. It is time to do away with the suicidal, leftist policy of appeasing China practiced by all administrations of both parties since 1989.

It is time to push aside the leftist propagandists and pseudoanalysts like Henry Kissinger, James Cartwright, Joseph Nye, Dennis Blair, Joseph Prueher, and Eric McVaddon, whose idiotic policy of appeasing China, adopted by all administrations since 1989, led to this disastrous cyberattack – the cyber version of Pearl Harbor – and to China’s dangerous military rise in the first place. China is an adversary of the US and should be treated as such.

Over 23 years of appeasing China and trying to “make it a responsible stakeholder in the international system” and trying to bring it into that system have utterly failed. China has no interest in being a “responsible stakeholder in the international system” – it has a vested interest in expanding its territory (especially at sea), subjugating its neighbors, growing its military and economic power, and pushing the US outside Asia in order to become the uncontested hegemon of that continent.

THAT is why China has amassed all of the anti-access/area-denial military capabilities that Washington is now worried about. Cyberwarfare is one of them.

China is a dangerous adversary. It has the historical grudges of a Weimar Republic, the militant nationalism of an Arab state, and the expansionist agenda of the Soviet Union – all at the same time.

It is also time to cast aside any notions of Sino-American “cooperation” on cyberspace when China is America’s adversary and the perpetrator of most cyberattacks against the US. Naive fools who advocate such attacks, such as Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must be removed from office. It is time to publicly recognize China as an adversary and the perpetrator of these cyberattacks, and to name and shame it.

It is also time to recognize that China’s attacks on the US are but a part of a much greater struggle between China and the US, and it will not end until either side succumbs to the other. It will be a struggle similar to the Cold War. The US needs to develop a long-term grand strategy to win it.

Next, the US needs to leverage all means at its disposal to force China to stop these attacks. The US should start by developing better cyberdefenses. This means extending obligatory protection to all critical industries (or, at minimum, all those that have or want to receive federal contracts), acquiring better protective software (including better firewalls), making passwords on government computers tougher, frequently changing these passwords, signing cyberdefense pacts with allies, and most importantly, finally passing a cybersecurity bill like the CISPA passed by the House this year and last year. There is no excuse for Congress not passing a cybersecurity bill. Such bill must allow for seamless, unlimited sharing of information between the government and private companies.

Also, the US government should hire top IT specialists and consultants, such as Kevin Mitnick, Morpheus, Neo, et al., and even this man.

But mere cyberdefenses will not solve the problem. Defensive war is very difficult, although not entirely impossible, to win (how many wars have been won by staying solely on the defensive and never going on the offense?). That is because in a defensive war, the enemy – the attacker – has the initiative, and war is very difficult (although again, not entirely impossible) to win when the enemy has the initiative. Cyberwars are no different.

Thus, the US should frequently conduct massive cyberattacks of its own against China, especially the PLA, especially its hacking units.

The US should also utilize other, non-cyber, means of pressure. The scheduled, utterly suicidal sequestration defense cuts, and any cuts in the US nuclear deterrent or missile defense systems, must be completely cancelled and prohibited by law. The US military should shift, as quickly as possible, from a short-range force heavily dependent on in-theater bases, satellites, and cybernetworks, to a force wielding primarily long-range weapons and much less reliant on those assets.

Also, Chinese politicians and government officials should be completely barred from entering the US until China completely stops its cyberattacks. The invitation to Gen. Chang Wanquan, the Chinese Minister of National Defense, to visit the US should be revoked.

Moreover, the US should construct an alliance of nations surrounding China in order to counter Beijing. Participants should include, but not be limited to, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and China’s western neighbors (former Soviet republics). These allies should be allowed to buy any weapons they want and receive US defense commitments if they haven’t received them yet. Existing commitments should be reaffirmed.

The US should, if possible, also try to sever Russia’s informal alliance/partnership with China.

Furthermore, the US should impose a complete embargo on Chinese products. China needs the US more than America needs China. Beijing does have a huge annual trade surplus with the US, but it also has a large annual trade deficit with the rest of the outside world.

In other words, Beijing is running huge trade surpluses with America to be able to afford large trade deficits with the rest of the world (outside the US). The US is effectively subisidizing China’s ability to do that. This is because, outside the US and China itself, few people want to buy Chinese products; and most other countries of the world don’t give a hoot about Friedman and Hayek and try – with various degrees of zealousness – to protect their industries.

If the US were to stop buying Chinese products and start buying American ones, China’s economy would suffer dreadfully, as China would now be running huge trade deficits every year. Outside the US, few people in the foreign world want to buy Chinese products.

The latest Gallup polling shows that 64% of Americans are quite willing to pay more for American products – if it means buying American instead of Chinese ones. In other words, 64% of Americans would wholeheartedly support Buy American trade policies.

Thus, America has HUGE economic leverage over China – it just needs to use it. So far, it hasn’t.

And last but not least, the US should continually shame China around the world for its abysmal human rights record and support all opposition groups in China, including the Tibetans, the Uighurs, and the residents of Inner Mongolia seeking to unite with independent Mongolia to the north.

The US has many forms of leverage it can use over China. It just needs to use them. But first and foremost, it needs to publicly recognize China as an adversary. It will never win any kind of competition – let alone Cold War style rivalry – over an adversary it is too afraid to even name.

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